Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Iowa State School Board Will Consider Challenge To Religious Choral Music In High Schools

At its meeting tomorrow, the Iowa Board of Education will consider the recommendation of an administrative law judge rejecting a family's challenge to the religious nature of music performed by the high school choirs in the New Hampton Community School District.  According to yesterday's Des Moines Register, the parents particularly pointed to the choirs' closing with the hymn In This Very Room which they perform holding hands and encircling the audience. The choirs also conduct a "Church Tour," performing in various churches in the community.  The school board says that a large percentage of choral music that has been written is religious, so it would be difficult to limit choirs to secular pieces. It said the church tours allowed students to experience different acoustics and blending of sounds, and that students did not attend religious services while performing.  The state school board's decision can be appealed to the courts.